Early Easter a boost for Irish Ferries first quarter figures
The number of ferry passengers travelling to and from Ireland rose 5pc in the first quarter compared to the first three months of 2012, to 353,306.
The figures from the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) show that the number of tourist car numbers travelling to and from Ireland increased 1pc to 99,277.
In Northern Ireland, ferry passenger numbers were 4pc higher at 260,144, with car numbers up 2pc to 80,029.
The IMDO pointed out that the fact Easter fell in the first quarter of the year, rather than the second, would have boosted the figures.
"Initial data shows that passenger and tourist car numbers correspondingly declined in April due to the above factor, with overall numbers expected to be down for the first four months compared to same period last year," said the IMDO.
The figures come as recent data from the Central Statistics Office showed that the number of visitors to Ireland from Britain fell 2.2pc to 638,600 between February and April.
The total number of visitors to Ireland was up 4pc to 1.45 million in that period, with the number of travellers from North America up 16.2pc at 207,300.
Irish Continental (ICG), which operates Irish Ferries routes, said the number of passengers carried in the 19 weeks to May 11 fell 1.5pc to 418,100. The number of cars carried in the period was 5.5pc lower at 85,000.
ICG said that although it carried fewer cars in the period, the yields were higher.